Don's Reviews > Natural Right and History

Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss
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Apr 25, 2012

it was amazing
Read in May, 2012

Absolutely incredible work of scholarship. Strauss gives a detailed and spirited reading of the history of natural right and natural law. A lot of his readings of classic and modern philosophers are contentious (e.g. this book contains several well argued cases for esoteric readings of Locke and Rousseau), but Strauss offers the most thorough citations I have ever seen. With the footnotes as one's guide, this book could serve as a syllabus for the reading of political philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to Burke. As with most of his work, Strauss keeps his cards close to his chest and writes with the "caution" that he observes in Locke. (Strauss' caution did not prevent the posthumous campaigns against him.)

I wish he'd written about Marx, and I wish he'd looked at Talmudic conceptions of law, rather than only Christian understandings of Biblical law and revelation. But that would require an entirely new volume.

The intellectual project begun by Strauss is far from complete, and it would be a worthy pursuit to begin where he left off.
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